Today is Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. It marks June 19, 1865, the day when enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, were finally told that the Civil War had ended and they were free—two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863.
Juneteenth has long been celebrated by the African American community. Now, in 2020, amid civil rights uprisings over the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many more, the day is taking on widespread significance. If you, like so many others, are just learning about the holiday, we have resources to help guide you.
Watch: Hope of Juneteenth documentary
Our library’s Multicultural Learning Coordinator Juanta Griffin is very proud to present a special documentary she helped make.
Hope of Juneteenth celebrates the history and joy of Juneteenth, and the promise of hope for the future it brings. The documentary was directed and produced by Forest Park community leader Marjorie Adam, funded by Riveredge Hospital, and supported by Forest Park Mayor Rory Hoskins.
“This video is dedicated to the late Al Edwards of Houston, Texas,” Juanta says. “In 1979, as a 28-year-old serving his freshman term in the Texas House of Representatives, Al introduced and passed H.B. 1016. The bill made Juneteenth our country’s first official emancipation day holiday.”
Watch: Juneteenth 2020 Proclamation in Oak Park
At Tuesday’s Village of Oak Park Board of Trustees meeting, Multicultural Learning Coordinator Juanta Griffin read the proclamation to recognize June 19 as Juneteenth every year.
In years past, Juanta has partnered with Anthony Clark of Suburban Unity Alliance to host a large Juneteenth cookout at Taylor Park for the community complete with a DJ, food, drinks, games and more, all free to the community. Read more about this year’s celebration »
The new Juneteenth Proclamation resolves “that the Village of Oak Park supports the celebration of Juneteenth both financially and in spirit from this day forward.”
What we suggest
“How we Juneteenth” & “Juneteenth Jamboree”
- The New York Times has a Juneteenth collection of photos, poetry, and articles about Juneteenth. (Read full New York Times coverage for free through our library, from anywhere »)
- PBS Austin has a “Juneteenth Jamboree” website with historical and celebratory videos.